Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region



Dufurrena Ponds, Big Springs Reservoir, and Catnip Reservoir: Anglers may bank fish, fish by wading, or use nonmotorized boats, boats with electric motors, float tubes and similar flotation devices only. Please contack the refuge manager for descriptions of restricted zones and/or motor and speed regulations prior to your visit. Regulations are subject to change.

fish out of Dufferena Pond


Fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout is enjoyed at Big Springs Reservoir. Fishing in Catnip Reservoir. Check current Nevada Department of Wildlife Regulations for fishing seasons catch limit.  The Dufurrena Ponds have bass, crappie and several other species of warm water fish. Big Springs Reservoir is famous for its ice fishing.

At the Virgin Valley Campground there is a designated fishing hole for Children under 12, and Adults over 65, and people who are disabled.

All fishing is regulated by Nevada State law and a fishing license is required. Please check current regulations for seasons, limits and other guidelines at: .


Hunting is permitted in accordance with state and federal regulations. A very limited number of tags are offered for deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep hunts in the late summer and fall. Tag drawings are administered through the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). Instructions are available in their annual hunting synopsis for big game or at Several species of upland birds may also be hunted. Hunting for sage grouse also requires a permit issued by NDOW. Waterfowl may be hunted except at Catnip Reservoir, Big Spring Reservoir and the no hunting areas listed below.

Hunting and fishing license are not available on the refuge. Please plan ahead, go to for the nearest location to you for purchasing of required licenses.

Persons possessing transporting, or carrying firearms on national wildlife Refuges must comply with all provision of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32).

No hunting is allowed in the Dufurrena area or on the portion of the refuge west of Swan Lake known as "Little Sheldon."


Weapons possessed for purposes other than in-season hunting must be unloaded and cased or dismantled. Discharge of firearms for target practice is not allowed. Areas closed to hunting include Little Sheldon, Dufurrena, the Virgin Valley and other areas as posted.

Virgin Valley Campground

Virgn Valley Campground


Camping is permitted only at designated camping areas. There is no fee for camping and is on a first-come, first-served basis (no reservations). Virgin Valley campground is open year-round. There you will find pit toilets, picnic tables, drinking water, a warm springs pool and a rustic shower house. All other camps are primitive; none have potable water and some have pit toilets.

Overnight backpacking is a great way to experience some of the more remote parts of the refuge. A backpacking permit is required for camping along the desert trail corridor and for safety reasons is accepted for the refuge as a whole. Contact Refuge Manager for permit.

You are welcome to camp on the refuge for up to 14 days. Observe quiet hours between 10 pm and 6 am. Plan to pack out what you pack in. Garbage collection and septic dumping facilities are not provided on the refuge. Winter snows and muddy road conditions in the spring limit access to remote camps.

The Royal Peacock private campground offers full hook-ups for a fee. Public telephone available.

See map for details and locations of the campgrounds.


Campfires and charcoal barbecues are permitted only in times of low fire danger. Bring your own firewood. Propane stoves may be used year-round. Please check with the refuge headquarters if you are unsure about the level of fire danger and restrictions.

Horseback Riding

Horses are allowed on the refuge. Corrals are located at Badger Camp and Fish Creek. Pelletized feed is required to avoid introducing weeds from hay.

Rock Hounding

A maximum of seven pounds of rocks may be collected per day for personal use only, except in the Virgin Valley Mining District (covers 67,000 acres of refuge lands). Surface collecting only, NO DIGGING. Within the mining district there are thousands of claims (some of which are patented) and permission from claim owners must be obtained for rock collecting. Several patented mines offer opal hunting for a fee. Virgin Valley opal deposits include the prized black opal as well as fire opal of many hues, with the brilliant fire unique to the valley's gem. If you have the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Natural Science Museum in Washington D.C., there are several Virgin Valley opals on display. The opal mines are operated by private groups.

Last updated: July 11, 2014